Nancy E. Nesbit Staples
April 10, 1921 – November 10, 2006
Class: 43-W-4
Training Location: Houston Municipal Airport (Tex.) and Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.)
Planes flown: PT-19, AT-11, B-34, B-25, C-45, C-47, C-53, UC-78
Assigned bases:  Love Field (Dallas, TX), Alamagordo Army Air Base (NM), and Biggs Army Air Field (El Paso, TX).

Nancy Nesbit was born on April 10, 1921 to William F. Nesbit and his wife, Winifred Nesbit.  She grew up in and around Pomona, CA.

In 1941, Nancy was selected as the Los Angeles County Fair Queen.  Her beauty would land her in the pages of LIFE Magazine during the war in a feature on the Women Airforce Service Pilots.  Remarkably, this would be the last LA County Fair until 1947 due to World War II.

On February 16, 1943, Nancy began her WASP training. That day, 76 trainees including Nancy, entered training at Houston, Texas. The other half reported to Sweetwater, Texas. On May 18, the Houston trainees flew to Sweetwater to complete their training and join the rest of their class.

She graduated in the class of 43-W-4 on 7 Aug 1943. Out of 152 trainees in her class, 112 graduated. During her time with the WASP she was assigned to Love Field (Dallas, TX), Alamagordo Army Air Base (NM), and Biggs Army Air Field (El Paso, TX). In the performance of her duties, she flew many types of military aircraft, including the PT-19, AT-11, B-34, B-25, C-45, C-47, C-53, UC-78.  In 1944, LIFE Magazine captured Nancy in an iconic photo of her seated in the cockpit of an AT-6 Texan at Love Field, Dallas, TX.

She married Lt. Col. Johnston R. Staples on Jan. 15, 1951 in Madera, CA, who was a career officer in the US Air Force, serving in both World War II and Korea.

Nancy died on Nov. 10, 2006 in Riverside, CA where she was later buried alongside her husband, who previously died on April 9, 1988, at the Riverside National Cemetery.








Nancy Nesbit preparing to take-off at Avenger Field in Sweetwater Texas – 1943.
LIFE Magazine – Peter Stackpole Photographer

Submitted by Chelle McIntyre-Brewer
Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas. WASP collection
Wings Across America
World War II Database


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